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Academic Expectations

The two years in Sixth Form are probably the most important in your education and will determine the path you take in life. They should be the most enjoyable and fulfilling of your school career. 

Here at Archbishop Ilsley Sixth Form, you will be encouraged, challenged and stretched in your academic achievement, social confidence and personal development to strive for excellence. We expect all of our students to be aspirational.

In the Sixth Form, students take a far greater level of individual responsibility for their education. Independence is an important part of a student’s development; we support our students in adopting a proactive approach to learning.

The most successful students are those who understand ‘how’ they learn. It is important for all of our students to be curious, active learners. In tutor time, students will be taught a range of strategies to support their learning and revision. These will include the Cornell notes method, brain dumps, mind mapping, self-quizzing and flashcards. Students will also learn about the sixth form mindset focusing on six successful learning habits:


Students should seek help from their subject teachers and tutors if they are struggling to work independently. 

Students will have several non-contact periods on their timetable per week. 

These are study periods and should be used wisely, as students will have a lot of work to complete outside of the classroom. No students will have ‘free periods’. 

Sixth Form students can use the study room or library for quiet, private study and the common room for more group work tasks. In addition, it is our expectation that students are studying at home during the evenings and at weekends. 

As a general rule, students should spend around fifteen hours a week studying (based on 3 A Levels), in addition to lesson time; sometimes it will need to be more than this. 

The Sixth Form Mindset – VESPA

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”


Students should be engaged in three main forms of study:

How can we help you to…

  • Have a clear goal that you want to achieve.
  • Make an actionable plan.
  • Stick to the goal despite obstacles.

When goal pursuit is fuelled by personal endorsement and valuing of the goal, commitment and perseverance will be high.

Work hard!

  • Fixed mindset learners carry with them the myth of effortless success – half of you may believe in the saying, ‘you’ve either got it or you haven’t’.
  • We need to shatter this myth!
  • Being organised and having what you need to be successful.
  • A system to organise learning so that you can make sense of it all.
  • A system to organise your time so that you can complete key tasks and deadlines.
  • Dedicated, supervised time for you to complete your Reactive Learning’ which is homework set by subject teachers; ‘Proactive Learning’ which is revision using the study skills taught during tutor time.  
  • Super Curriculum.
  • Friday Reviews to review weekly learning and progress.

Often students appear to be working very hard but do not make the progress we expect.  Effort alone does not = success.  How can you be sure that you are working on the right things? The process of learning and mastery can be categorised:

  • Content – review and consolidate.
  • Skills putting knowledge into practice in high stakes context e.g. timed exam questions/PPEs.
  • Feedback – understanding expert feedback allows you to develop performance.
  • Independent study using study strategies.
  • Review.
  • What is your process of learning? (growth vs fixed mindset?)  
  • What is your buoyancy and positivity like?
  • How do you respond to challenge or difficulty?   
  • Do you have resilience and grit?

In the study period and/or on the evening following each of your lessons, you should spend 12-15 minutes (24-30 minutes for a double) rereading your notes, writing the summary section at the bottom of your Cornell notes and making relevant flashcards e.g. for key vocabulary, definitions, concepts, events/plot, etc. Everything that you need to recall etc.

This is your ’homework’. Each of your teachers should give you at least one hour of homework each week. If they don’t, ask them for some! If you find this takes more than one hour, that’s fine, you can take this from the proactive phase (not from the consolidation phase though). Equally, if you find you finish your reactive work quickly, spend more time on your proactive work.

This is the section that will broaden and deepen your overall understanding of the subject you are studying. It will not necessarily involve work that has been set by your teacher, but instead, it is about you doing the extra practice questions, wider reading etc. Your teachers will give you a list of things that you could do in order to be proactive in your learning.

Use of ICT and Social Media

We recognise the importance of the effective use of ICT and as such, offer the following advice to help keep everyone safe online.

Sixth Form students should consider the following when using the internet or email: 

  • You must not attempt to access or send information that is racist, sexist, obscene or offensive to others.
  • School computer, email and internet use must be appropriate to your studies.
  • All personal social media is not permitted.
  • Entering any personal details online.
  • All students have a digital footprint; you should act as a responsible internet and social media user. Future employers may view social network sites; they may even ‘google’ you.
  • Be careful when using social media sites, think before you accept ‘friend’ requests from people you do not know, people are not always who they say they are. Review privacy settings to avoid everyone seeing your profile. Never release your current location. Think about the images of yourself that your post online. Is it something that you are happy for all to see? Do not compromise yourself or others.
  • Do not put up inappropriate comments/photos regarding sixth form or teachers. This will result in disciplinary action.
  • When using information from the internet:
    • Do not pretend online content is your own work; plagiarism is taken very seriously.
    • Reference the source and always consider the validity and quality of information found and add your own ideas and view.

Behaviour and Conduct – ‘The Sixth Form Six’

Outside lessons, we expect  all Sixth Form students  to be primed to be role models:

  1. Punctual – be on time to school and all lessons.
  2. Respect – treat all with respect – be role models to those around you.
  3. Identifiable – lanyards to be worn at all times.
  4. Mobiles – mobile phones or airpods should be used in the common room only.  
  5. Engage with study and enrichment time purposefully.
  6. Dress code to be worn with pride.

Inside lessons, we expect all Sixth Form students to demonstrate:

  • Vision – have a clear goal that you want to achieve.
  • Effort – work hard in lessons.
  • Systems  be equipped and ready to learn; be organised.
  • Practice – listen to your teachers; master your learning.
  • Attitude – listen attentively and act on advice given.
  • Resilience  never give up!

Class Charts is used to reward positive learning behaviours and address sanctions.

On enrolling into the Sixth Form, all students will sign a copy of the Sixth Form Contract which outlines our expectations. This is also signed by your parents/carers and tutors.  There is a copy of the contract in this handbook.

Sixth Form Contract

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